Monday, August 18, 2008

Palringo Brings Push-to-Talk to the iPhone

'Push-to-talk' the voice equivalent of text messaging (SMS) has come to the iPhone for the first time.

Promised as ‘soon’ when it launched its service for the iPhone on July 29, Palringo has added the vocal instant messaging functionality to its rich messaging application available from Apple’s App Store.

Kerry Ritz, CEO of Palringo, said: “We’ve completed the suite of ways in which people can communicate with each other using an iPhone, adding voice, text-based and picture instant messaging to the standard phone call, SMS and e-mail functionality of the phone. This functionality really adds value to the already terrific iPhone experience.”

“When we launched Palringo for the iPhone, we said that our vocal IM functionality would be added imminently. We’ve kept the promise we made to the thousands and thousands of iPhone users who downloaded Palringo and made us one of the most popular free applications from the App Store,” he added.

The concept of push-to-talk varies in popularity around the world. Currently, in the United States, both Verizon and Sprint are promoting their push-to-talk services as alternatives to each other. However, both of these options lock customers into both a specific device and a specific network.

Palringo does neither of these things, being entirely operator-independent and also working on almost every handset released in the last two years. Most recently the company added RIM’s BlackBerry platform to a list that already includes Windows Mobile, Symbian and Java-based devices from manufacturers including Nokia, Motorola, LG, Samsung, HTC, HP and Sony Ericsson.

“Some of the big carriers tout their PTT services, but they have the ‘carrier barrier’ limitation of locking their customers into their networks and only the handsets the carriers support,” Ritz said. “That sort of lock-in is a 20th century business model and it doesn’t wash with savvy mobile users today.”

Palringo integrates with several existing popular instant-messaging services: AOL’s AIM, Google Talk, Yahoo! Messenger, Gadu Gadu, ICQ, Jabber and Windows Live Messenger. People can also use Palringo to contact their friends using iChat, Apple’s IM client.

Palringo for the iPhone is free and easy to download and install from Apple’s App Store.

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